The shrine to the British spirit opens in the
Tenderloin neighborhood. Over the last few years, San
Francisco has developed a bit of a crush on gin. A number of small batch
artisanal distilleries have opened around the Bay Area (most recently Falcon
Spirits Distillery in the Richmond, and Spirit Works Distillery in
Sebastopol). Juniper, too, has become a beloved addition on the latest craft
cocktail menus. It comes to a head this week, with the christening of
Whitechapel, a new bar devoted to gin. Inside, an obsession with the
British spirit runs deep—with more than 350 bottles on the list, it's
snagged the title for having the largest gin selection in North America. To
orient yourself amid this dizzying selection, start with the more manageable
cocktail menu. It's got an impressive 100 options on it (try the Dutch
Nemesis: Bols Genever, Combier Kummel, pineapple gum, sparkling wine,
angostura, and lime), and is designed to showcase the history of gin, curated
from vintage to contemporary selections. The bar has also collaborated with
San Francisco-based Distillery 209 on their house Whitechapel Victorian Dry
Gin, a traditional London-style gin with botanicals, black walnut, and lemon
verbena. The space itself is a veritable gin altar, broken into three
themed rooms. The design could be classified as Victorian San
Francisco-meets-London Underground, with beautiful moldings that nod to the
local architectural, barrel-vaulted ceilings, acanthus tiles, vintage
distilling paraphernalia serving as art pieces, and whimsical bubbly light
fixtures. The dining area pays tribute to London's ornate gin pubs of
the 1820s, and serves upscale bar bites to pair with gin's delicate profile.
Expect a blend of British, Dutch, and Bangladeshi flavors, noted in dishes
like mussels vindaloo, welsh rabbit, and quail with a scotched egg. Jenna
Scatena is on the San Francisco Bay Area beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow
her on Twitter and Instagram.   This week San Francisco
opens Whitechapel, a new bar in the Tenderloin that claims to have the largest
gin selection in North America. Read on for the details.

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